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I’m not ‘chic’

When you picture a minimalist, you may not picture me. I’m not one of those elusive, intriguing, Parisian-style waifs that embody the word ‘chic.’ I eschew neutrals in favor of rich colors and am drawn to quirky patterns like hot air balloons and elephants. Cupcakes and Thin Mints make me happy. I’m lucky if I can coerce my hair into a straight part. And no matter how much I admire powerful women striding along in high heels, I’ll always be frolicking in boat shoes or smoking slippers.

So no, I’m not ‘chic.’ But there’s no reason I can’t be chic. Jennifer L. Scott wrote in At Home with Madame Chic that chic is a state of being achieved when one cultivates total inner peace. She’s right. It has nothing to do with wearing head-to-toe black or living in a mansion, and everything to do with owning who you are. Minimalists have a leg up in this matter: since we own less, the things that we consciously choose to surround ourselves with tell a lot about us. Without stuff to hide behind, we display ourselves proudly to the world. And my elephant-emblazoned shirt is a lot more honest about who I am than Parisian black would be, even if it is less ‘chic.’

Being a minimalist doesn’t mean you have to turn into a Devil-Wears-Prada type, austere and formal in wardrobe and in attitude. It just means that you have made a conscious decision to have less and be happy with it. When you don’t own much, there isn’t room to compromise on things you don’t love. So don’t buy that LBD just because all sophisticated women ‘should’ have them. Don’t spend your money and time on the ‘useful’ cooking class when you really want to learn photography. Only by having and doing what you love, and nurturing peace in your heart knowing that you’re making the right decisions for yourself, will you achieve that elusive quality: chic.

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